How to Organize a Basement

Storing Basement Contents

Utilizing all the available space in your basement is the key to transforming it from an area that could double for a dungeon to a clean and functional part of your home.

When you're storing items in the basement, you'll need a few tools to help keep things organized:

  • Shelving - Floor-to-ceiling shelving is a good idea. Depending on the look and feel of your basement, you can use wood or metal units to hold everything from file boxes to toilet paper to bottles of wine. Don't forget to use all available space including the ceiling -- hooks or ceiling storage units can be a great place to hang bikes and other seasonal equipment [source: HyLoft].
  • Storage Bins - You may opt to store your holiday decorations or winter coats in clearly labeled storage bins. When selecting bins, try to find ones that are stackable and transparent -- this will optimize efficiency and ease of access.
  • Pegboard - Pegboard is an underrated necessity in the basement, especially if Dad wants to store his tools down there. Pegboard has many drawbacks, not the least of which is that it's not very attractive, but you can purchase plastic pegboard that makes up for some of its shortcomings [source: Garage Escapes].

Before you install anything that will be attached to the wall or ceiling, make sure you have made any necessary changes to the space, including painting or patching holes and leaks.

Not many people look forward to organizing their basement. However, if you can focus on the outcome and think of how great the space will look when you're done, you'll see that the time and effort is worth it. Whether you're organizing the space simply for organization's sake or if you're preparing it to be turned into an extra bedroom, you'll find that knowing what you have and where it is will give you some peace of mind. Recruit your friends and family and you'll be able to get your basement whipped into shape in no time.

To learn more about organizing basements, visit the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Anxiety and Stress Disorder Institute of Maryland. "Understanding and Treating Hoarding." (Accessed 1/17/10)
  • Energy Star. "Damp Basement." (Accessed 1/16/10)
  • Garage Escapes. "The Drawbacks of Pegboard." (Accessed 1/17/10)
  • Grimshaw, Heather. "The Psychology of Clutter." The Denver Post. (Accessed 1/17/10)
  • HyLoft. (Accessed 1/17/10)
  • "Cleaning and Decluttering the Basement or Attic." (Accessed 1/19/10)
  • Rosehill Wine Cellars. "Wine Cellar FAQ's." (Accessed 1/17/10)
  • Salvation Army. "Donations." (Accessed 1/17/10)